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Kenya’s Savannah Fund has Good News for African Startups

The fund has announced a US$25 million fund that will invest in early-stage startups across Sub-Saharan Africa with a focus on supporting women entrepreneurs and disruptive companies in high-growth sectors. Led by Mbwana Alliy and Paul Bragiel, Savannah Fund is one of the earliest Sub-Saharan Africa-focused tech venture capital firms, starting its investment activities in 2012 when it launched its first accelerator programme in Kenya. In 2016, it transitioned completely to seed and Series A investments, and has to date invested in 31 companies across seven countries on the continent. Its second fund, which has closed at US$25 million, is led by the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, which invested US$3 million, while the Women’s Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative invested US$500,000. Other notable investors include Tim Draper of Draper Associates and Visa Forsten, co-founder of Supercell. Senegal-based venture studio UMA also participated. The fund will focus on seed to Series A investments in core markets Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa, with an eye on expansion to emerging hubs across Rwanda, Ethiopia, Uganda, Ivory Coast and Ghana. Key investment sectors include fintech, ed-tech, logistics, e-commerce, SaaS, e-health, agri-tech, and innovation at the bottom of the pyramid.